Mar 11

Samsung tries a Reality Distortion Field

Steve Jobs should have patented his Reality Distortion Field while he had the chance.

Now it seems like any company — Samsung, for instance — has no qualms about getting up on stage and creating a fantastic world of make-believe. Only problem is, their distortion ends up feeling like distortion.

Brimming with confidence, Samsung puts a series of obvious actors on the screen and passes them off as “true-life stories of Galaxy Tab users.”

Steve Jobs’ version is called the Reality Distortion Field because he’s so damn good at it. He has a genuine passion for marketing. He truly believes what he says. He’s incapable of any deliberate action that would cheapen the Apple brand.

Samsung, like many other companies, merely sees marketing as a necessary process. It’s less a labor of love, and more a checklist of things to do. And being authentic isn’t exactly their number one priority.

You can see that vividly in the above video, which shows Samsung unveiling their new family of Galaxy Tabs at an industry conference last week. They’ve got the demos and specs, but they can’t resist the temptation to present imaginary customers as real ones.

These testimonials are not only fabricated, they’re ineptly fabricated. They radiate fakery, sounding more like the brainchild of a marketing hack than a real writer. If you ignore the wrongheadedness of them, they can actually be entertaining — in much the same way it can be fun to watch a bad band perform.

We get Joan Hess, playing the role of freelance travel writer, forced to utter the words “mobility and connectivity are just perfect for my life.” She observes that the Galaxy Tab is “portable, connected, it’s sleek, it’s practical, it’s sexy — like me.” She delivers her lines with the smile of a toothpaste model.

Karl Shefelman is the independent film director, age 42. He’s the marketing guy’s image of cool, so he comes off as completely uncool. For him, the Galaxy Tab is “fast — like my life.”

This is where Samsung’s Chief Product and Technology Officer, Omar Kahn, chimes in: “It’s always interesting to see true-life stories of Galaxy Tab users.” Watch this scene a few times and you’ll actually see his nose grow longer.

Omar then cues up Joseph Kolinski, real estate executive. He’s not only a wretched actor, he’s one of the few people on earth who speaks entirely in marketing lingo: “I’m on the go 24/7 … I move fast, I take charge, I get things done … once I picked up the Galaxy Tab 8.9, I just couldn’t put it down.” (Never mind that he’s using the 8.9-inch model that isn’t even shipping yet.)

To be fair, it’s not like Apple doesn’t dabble in the imaginary. Look at their tear-jerker iPad and FaceTime commercials. Those aren’t real people. They’re actors pretending to have emotional family moments, set to moody music.

The difference is, Apple isn’t telling us these are real people. They’re simply commercials. And the people in the commercials aren’t babbling marketing-speak.

The Samsungs of the world really need to be careful. If you’re not certified to create a Reality Distortion Field, you can easily get sucked into it yourself.

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  • Bmcfadden

    It seems Samsung has an interesting relationship with the ” truth”. Here they present fake people spewing marketing-speak about fake products (I hear what is shown are non- working prototypes. And Samsung’s claim that they are thinner than the ipad2 isn’t even true according to someone who measured one).

    And didn’t Samsung lie about how many Galaxy Tabs had sold? They claimed 2 million or so, then this turned out to be how many they shipped to resellers, not to customers.

    Samsung’s lack of integrity speaks to a desperation, and is extremely disrespectful of potential customers. Haven’t they heard of the Internet? You simply can’t get away with this these days, at least with the people that count. Samsung: we are onto you, and certainly not buying your products

  • Daniel

    I like the Joseph Kolinski guy: “I am not very tech savvy- I can actually costumize it”
    is there no contradiction?? :)